Sometimes the parents of our children’s class get together for an evening event… we’ve had very successful Pot Luck, and then it was decided that the Mama’s should have a Ladies Night out, so 8-9 of us met up at Cafe Luden on the Plein, in the centre of the Hague.
The terrace outside the Cafe was very crowded, and we arrived for a later dinner so elected to sit inside, right at the back because it was clear that even though it is summer, that the evening was going to cool off considerably once the sun disappeared.
We consequently had the rear of the restaurant to ourselves, had no problems to put several tables together so that we could all be seated together and proceded to order.
The menu is only in Dutch, but I’m sure that if you don’t speak the language and ask for help / advice that they will be happy to give you a run-down of the menu in English.
I have food allergies and our waiter was friendly and helpful when it came to checking the menu with the the kitchen for allergy hazards.
One thing you need to know about Dutch restaurants when dining with a group, is that they won’t make separate bills, or separate the orders on the bills, it’s up to the customer to do the calculations and to split the bill themselves afterwards.
This is standard practice and it doesn’t even matter if five whole families are eating together for a family event, the total of all the food and beverages will be presented on one bill.
I’ve worked as a waitress before and don’t see why this couldn’t be part of the service, but no matter how much you ask, or where in the country you ask it, the answer is invariably “Sorry, Not possible” so pack a pocket calculator or at least a pen in your bag or wallet so that you can do the maths, especially if it’s a very large group.
Sitting at the back of the restaurant poses low light problems for the camera so I did my best on the shutter front, so that at least you will have an idea of what the menu is like.
Several of our group ordered duplicate dishes but I did get a sample of the Main Courses that everyone had…. which were as follows:
Lambchops with honey/mustard sauce, confit of green asparagus with spring onions combined with a risotto of fresh herbs.
Tuna fillet, with Antibois (which means literally “from the Antibes”) of paprika, red onion, garlic and capers, pasta and sundried tomatoes.
Confit duck, with American potatoes, green Spring vegetables and gravy of red wine and fruit.
Slibtong (I think that might be a relation of a Sole fillet) baked in butter, served with fries and salad.
Tournedos (pronounced “torn -aah-dose”) with a gratin of mozzarella and balsamic gravy, green vegetable mix, and roasted Roseval potatoes.
Lasagne, filled with goat cheese (lead photograph)
Dessert consisted of:
Dame Blanche (literally means “white lady” and not “dumb blonde“ as one colleague thought in a funny conversation about language blunders years ago) … basically it’s vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce and cream… and probably on every restaurant menu in the Netherlands.
My personal favourite: Crème Brûlée (literally means ” burnt cream”).. actually it’s a creamy vanilla custard baked, a layer of sugar is added at the end which is then flambéed or caramelized in the oven or with a blowtorch.
The rear of the restaurant, complete with baby grand piano…
We had a great time, a lot of laughter and good conversation…
I did ask everyone to rate their meal so that I could share their opinions here. Sadly although the presentation was well recieved the actual food rated less well. “ Just OK” being the general consensus.
Reasons why? Here’s the lowdown: the Tuna Fillet, the outside of the fillet was wonderful, great texture and taste, more of this Please… but the center was pretty raw and inedible.
My Confit Duck: I’ve made this at home and to be honest it turns out far better than what I was served here. Confit is a long slow cooking method, very long, very slow, and the meat should be silky soft and just fall away from the bone at the slightest touch. This effort was cooked though, but I literally had to scrape and tug it off the bones bit by bit. It took force, and I mean where the thought runs though your head” ” I hope this doesn’t fly off the plate and hit someone” kind of force. Whatever kind of Duck this was meant to be, it doesn’t scream “Confit” to me.
Other opinions were that the food was about a ” 5 or 6 out of 10” . I was disappointed that the friendly waiter (clearly more occupied with Front of House and outside guests) didn’t come back to ask how our meal was. I would have said something if he had… others in our party might have too.
Positive notes were that the waiter was friendly so at least we didn’t have surly service on top of a mediocre meal… and the price was reasonable enough, I paid Euro 35,- for my Confit Duck, Crème Brûlée , two Cola Light’s (and my part of the tip for the service).
I was also disappointed because this establishment was chosen for our night out because we had heard it had great food. Something didn’t tally up tonight if that is usually the case.
Oh well, we enjoyed our evening in spite of the food…
Café Luden // Den Haag (The Hague) // Plein 67 // telefoon: 070-3601733